Day 37 – Ludington to Mount Pleasant, Michigan

113 miles, 3271 feet climbed

Coming after the ferry day and evening arrival at our hotel, this day had the potential to be a grind. Luckily it was not. Western Michigan seems to be less densely inhabited than Wisconsin. We began by heading pretty much due south, then turned to the east. The first third or so was lushly forested. Then we encountered open lands with more corn and soybeans, along with a bit of wheat.

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Day 36 – Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Ludington, Michigan

7 miles (bike), 60 miles (Ferry)

Today was mostly rest, with a little casual bike riding mixed in. Not considered a real rest day by some in that they had deadlines to meet. We loaded luggage at 9 am but didn’t have to be at the ferry dock until 12:30 pm, leaving us with what we could carry in a backpack and on our bikes as our entertainment. I took advantage of the time to get closer to being caught up on these posts while my tablet PC was upgrading itself to the latest release of Windows 10. On the short ride to the ferry I grabbed a sandwich and soda at a convenience store and ate them on the dock while we waited to board.

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Day 34 – Mauston to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

96 miles, 2516 feet climbed

After a light catered breakfast (1 egg cheese omelet + meat + toast, or 2 eggs + meat + toast, 2 pancakes + toast–choose one). We headed off. Add that our first SAG wasn’t until the 40 mile mark and I was expecting to bonk. Instead, I did just fine. I even rode for a while with Jerry Springer (of Racine Wisconsin, not that other guy) for a bit. Jerry was riding a loop from his cabin in the vicinity.

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Day 33 – La Crosse to Mauston, Wisconsin

75 miles, 2493 feet climbed

This day was one of my personal favorites on the 2004 ride. Primarily because of the Elroy-Sparta trail, and secondarily because I got to get some pie from Gina’s Pies are Square in Wilton. I knew about it going into the trip because Bicycling magazine had highlighted it.

Sadly, Gina’s has closed and the trail is suffering from the effects of storms over recent years, including those this June. The maintenance budget is said to be minimal. My fear is that the trail won’t be rideable with road bikes in another 15 years and maybe not even with mountain bikes Very little of the trail resembled the medium gray decomposed granite surface that I recall from 2004. Instead, it was covered with sand and in a few spots, sandy mud. if this keeps up. In 2004 we rode the trail all the way from Sparta to Elroy; this year the second half was closed and we exited the trail in Wilton.

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Day 31 – Mankato to Rochester, Minnesota

101 miles, 2421 feet climbed

These last two posts have been a couple of days late in part because I’m a little worn down but mostly because the hotel WiFi connections have been too slow to successfully upload the photos. I hope to catch up in a day or two.

Today’s ride followed 112 miles yesterday. I didn’t have the spring in my pedaling but keeping the pedals turning will eventually get you there. Another day of mild weather helped too.

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Day 29 – Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Worthington, Minnesota

71 miles, 1417 feet climbed

Today started out cool and remained so for most of the day. After our first an only SAG, slight headwinds increased but were nothing compared to Saturday’s winds (Day 27). The roads are less rolling, some good smooth asphalt and others the “kerchunky” concrete we’ve recently seen. The highlight was the first 9 miles ridden on the bike path that loops through what seemed like a continuous series of parks ringing Sioux Falls. The pavement was remarkably free of the tree-root upheaves we’ve seen in other places. Our time on the bike path ended at the Sioux Falls.

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